International Women’s Day guest blog: Inspiring inclusion as a Black woman trade unionist

Another International Women’s Day, and this year’s theme is ‘inspire inclusion’.

When we inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion, we forge a better world. And when women themselves are inspired to be included, there’s a sense of belonging, relevance, and empowerment. Collectively, let’s forge a more inclusive world for women.

To inspire inclusion means to celebrate diversity and empowerment on International Women’s Day 2024 and beyond. International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. Each year, this day serves as a powerful reminder of the progress made towards gender equality and highlights the work that still needs to be done.

I am a proud British South Asian Black woman, and proud to be a member of the South East Regional women’s committee as well as the National Black Members Committee (NBMC) and a member of the South East Regional Black Members Committee (SERBMC). It is through the NBMC that I have been supported in growing, both personally and professionally. My Black sisters from the NBMC have really inspired me to push myself out of my comfort zone by trying new things.

A pivotal moment for me was at the National Women’s Conference 2023 in Bournemouth, where I was representing the NBMC. I was tasked with moving a motion and although feeling terrified, it was through the support of my UNISON sisters that I was able to challenge myself to do this. Since then, I have written motions supporting Black women and mental health, Black women and neurodiversity as well as speeches supporting motions related to women.

This year’s UNISON National Women’s Conference in Brighton was truly moving, inspirational and has motivated me to continue working on issues impacting women and especially Black women.

I have recently completed the UNISON Show Racism the Red Card ambassadors programme and am due to start the TUC London, East, South East region Black Activist Programme.

I also recently returned from a retreat organised by my employer. Among 14 diverse women, spanning various backgrounds and professions, a powerful bond emerged, fuelled by shared stories. Despite being strangers at the start, we formed a deep connection. The experience was an important reminder that as women we are strongest when we stand united. It was an inspiring, inclusive and moving journey, highlighting the strength found in solidarity.

Hasina Hamid